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Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 19:40 GMT 20:40 UK
Torrance leaps into contention
Richard Green in action at Celtic Manor
Richard Green recorded seven birdies in his round
Sam Torrance made his tee-off time with 10 seconds to spare by "doing a Colin Jackson" and leaping over a fence at the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

It did the 48-year-old Ryder Cup captain no harm, however, as he carded a first round 66 to lie just one shot off the lead held by South African James Kingston and Australian Richard Green.

"I was off at 1:10pm but I was off at 1:30pm in yesterday's pro-am and I had that in my mind, both my caddie and I screwed up," admitted Torrance.

"I was sauntering across to have some putts on the putting green when Jennie Janes (European Tour tournament recorder) came racing across the putting green screaming at me that I had 40 seconds to get on the first tee.

"I did a Colin Jackson over the fence surrounding the putting green and just got there, I made it with 10 seconds to spare. The fence was about an inch lower than it needed to be! I thought I could either make the tee or break my leg.

"In mid-air I thought what are you doing you stupid old fart! I wasn't out of breath but my heart was thumping from the shock.

"I was just off the fairway, hit a six-iron to 20 feet to make par and took my driver out of my caddie's head and carried on."

Bradley Dredge in action at Celtic Manor
Bradley Dredge did well at his local course

Had Torrance missed his start time by anything up to five minutes then he would have been given a two-shot penalty. Arriving more than five minutes late would have resulted in disqualification.

Torrance's round was all the more creditable as it was played in the worst of the conditions as the almost inevitable rain, which reduced last year's event to 36 holes, returned.

Pace-setter Kingston was more fortunate, putting the finishing touches to his course record 65 just as the weather turned.

Green, who won the Dubai Desert Classic in 1997 in a play-off with Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam, also battled through the rain to card seven birdies and no bogeys and lipped out from four feet on the last to deny him the outright lead.

Local favourite Bradley Dredge had earlier briefly established a new course record with his 66, the preferred lies in use during the previous two tournaments meaning low scores did not count for record purposes.

The Welshman has had five top 10s this season but is keen to test himself properly over the last nine holes as he seeks his first tournament win.

South African James Kingston
James Kingston was a surprise contender

"When I came off the course at the European Open I thought I was going to finish fourth so to finish second was a bonus," the 29-year-old said.

"I came from behind again though and I want to get into contention for the last nine holes and have a chance from there.

"I've had five top 10s this year but in terms of trying to get my name on the trophy I've only had two good chances, at Slaley Hall (where he double-bogeyed the 72nd hole) and the Italian Open last year.

"If I can get myself up there again in the last round I can give myself a good opportunity to win. This week would be extra special because I'm from Blackwood which is just 20 miles away."

Playing partner Darren Clarke declared himself satisfied with his opening 68, but likely Ryder Cup partner Lee Westwood's woes continued.

The former world number four was four under after an eagle and two birdies in his first five holes, but came home in 39 and had to settle for a level par 72.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, who won the Scandinavian Masters on Sunday in only his fourth European Tour event, carded a 73, while the man he pipped to the title, South African Immelman, was round in 68.

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie, beaten in a play-off here last year, went one better with a 67.

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"Torrance can still match the youngsters"
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See also:

07 Aug 02 | Golf
26 Jun 02 | Wales
12 Feb 02 | Golf
29 Sep 01 | Golf
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